Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

San Francisco, Cleveland fertility clinics experience rare malfunction on same day

San Francisco, Cleveland fertility clinics experience rare malfunction on same day

A liquid nitrogen storage tank at University Hospitals malfunctioned the weekend of March 3rd, causing 2100 eggs and embryos to be compromised.

"I've talked to a lot of women and couples who have spoken with their fertility doctors, and not a one of them has been told that their embryos are still viable", Merriman said. "The Pennsylvania couple entrusted UHFC with their dreams of having children, as well as their most sensitive and important property: their frozen embryos". We intend to do that within the next couple of days, " he said. They said they have contacted the affected patients and set up a call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians.

Attorney Adam Wolf is now representing patients of Pacific Fertility Center who are planning to file a class action lawsuit this week.

The in vitro fertilization process cost the Brickel's about $20,000, according to their lawsuit. UH officials say the lawsuit will not affect an ongoing independent review into the malfunction.

A fertility expert says that the almost simultaneous storage failures at two fertility clinics across the country from each other are "beyond stunning" but that it appears to be just a coincidence.

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The clinic has not released any information yet about the number of eggs and embryos that have been impacted, but says the malfunctioning tank stored "several thousand" samples, which clinic spokesman Alden Romney said represent about 15 percent of the total stored at the facility.

A liquid nitrogen tank at the clinic located outside Cleveland, where more than 2,000 frozen embryos and eggs are stored, unexpectedly heated up. "Many had planned on implanting the embryos this year, and had already chosen a name". Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, told ABC News that in his 35 years of Cryopreservation it is an "an unusual event" where two clinics and two liquid nitrogen storage tanks where the tissues are stored "failed". "The equipment was immediately retired, the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely". According to the complaint filed, "The alarm alerting UH to the rise in temperature inside the tank (s) or freezer (s) went unanswered until the following morning when employees or agents of UH arrived at work to discover the alarm had been triggered the day before, resulting in harm to Plaintiffs' embryos, which made the human embryos unusable".

Lawyers for the couples who went to the OH clinic are seeking class action status, which would require approval from a judge. "It's a tremendous loss", Amber said.

CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO-TV reports that a class action suit was being filed by one couple involved against University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Mass torts involve injuries to a group of people from the same area, but who are treated as individuals in court. "We want to make sure that these devastating tragedies never happen again".

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